Academic integrity speaks to the student’s and instructor’s responsibilities for scholarly honesty in all modalities of learning, including online learning. The University’s Office for Community Standards has developed guidelines for “Promoting Academic Integrity in your Course” including:
- Define the appropriate use of resources at the beginning of the course. Restate these expectations as exams and assignments come due.
- Include the recommended syllabus statement regarding scholastic dishonesty.
- Explicitly state expectations for collaboration and group work.
- Change exams routinely and reorder exam questions.
- Proctor exams carefully and closely monitor makeup test arrangements. (The University offers two options for online exam proctoring: Proctorio and ProctorU; see below)
- Discuss the importance of academic integrity with students.
For additional information about academic integrity at the University, see “Academic Integrity Resources for Instructors”
Consider adding honor statements at the beginning of the quiz or exam or in their syllabus. An example of an honor statement from the University of Minnesota’s College of Pharmacy:
Each student is bound by the College of Pharmacy Honor Code, which states, ‘Academic misconduct’ is any unauthorized act which may give a student an unfair advantage over other students, including but not limited to: falsification, plagiarism, misuse of test materials, receiving unauthorized assistance and giving unauthorized assistance.
Turnitin is the centrally licensed plagiarism detection tool for the University, and it is integrated with Canvas. It creates a similarity score that is generated by comparing submitted work to other published material that it has in its databases, giving you an idea of how much material a student may have cited or borrowed from other sources.
Turnitin may be integrated with writing assignments at the point that students submit to Canvas. Note there is an option in Turnitin which stores submitted writing in a national database (in order to compare writing with other published work). You can turn this option on or off. If it is off, student writing is not stored by the vendor. If you choose to leave this option on, let students know their data will be stored by Turnitin. Storing student papers in Turnitin can cause issues if they plan to publish their papers. When publishers do a search on their papers, the Turnitin database may reference the student assignment as a publication. Students have objected to this setting at other universities, and we recommend you turn it off if you have any concerns.
Remote proctoring helps ensure exam integrity when students are taking online exams. For online proctoring tool options, see OIT’s Exam security web page.
This same page also includes information on various topics that support online exam security such as:
- Requiring students to agree to an honor statement
- Using question sets to randomly generate quizzes or exams for each student.
- Making students aware of Moodle’s and Canvas’ tracking and logging abilities.
You might also want to consider adding a statement on your quiz, e.g.,
You are required to do your own work on this quiz, and any assistance you receive from another student, or any assistance you give to another student will be considered unauthorized, and subject to penalties to be determined by the Honor Council. By taking this quiz, I certify that I have neither given nor received unauthorized assistance.
For additional information, see the Teaching and Learning: Instructor and Unit Responsibilities policy which speaks to secure handling of examinations (see part “C” of the policy).
Limitations of Proctoring and Plagiarism Tools
There are known limitations and concerns with both remote proctoring and plagiarism detection tools. For example, TurnItIn may sometimes return a false positive plagiarism score on a student’s work who did properly cite their sources. ProctorU has also reportedly missed some issues where cheating-like behavior occurred but was not captured by the tool. Please be aware that technology tools to assist you in ensuring the academic integrity of your course may not be entirely reliable in all cases.
Ethics of Proctoring and Plagiarism Tools
It is recommended that you let students know when your course includes the use of a plagiarism detection tool like TurnItIn and that you yourself are aware of what it does. As mentioned above, if student work is being uploaded to a third-party vendor’s servers, students should be made aware that their work is stored on those servers so it can be compared against others’ work in order to arrive at the plagiarism score. Consider adjusting tool settings to not upload student papers.
- Morris, S. M., Stommel, J., Smithers, M., Patenaude, M., Moon, J., Holt, T., Loomis, S. (2017, June 16). A Guide for Resisting Edtech: the Case against Turnitin.
- Weimer, M. (2015, November 6). Do Online Students Cheat More on Tests?